This week, Fylde made the relatively long trip to Gorton Street. Numerous emails prior to the game meant that Flyde sent 14 players from their 40+ strong squad (five full teams plus subs – jealous – have asked if we can have a season long load of two or three of them!).
We started the day with all twelve turning up but Lucas, looking like a pale thing on national pale day, had to go home (hope you are feeling better). So the remaining 11 took to the field.
Squad: Archie, Ben, Charlie, Guy, Josh, Lewis, Mikey, Mitch, Nathan, Reece and Tommy
After discussions with the Fylde coaches it was agreed to play two teams each, six-a-side, 10 minutes per game so as not to keep the players standing around too much. Eccles were a man short in one team so Alex from Fylde volunteered to play for Eccles.
Game 1: Alex (Fylde), Ben, Josh, Mikey, Nathan and Reece
Following on from last week’s start, Eccles again started on the front foot forcing the Fylde turnover and driving up the middle through the Fylde defence. With all players bunched up, the quick ball was passed to Reece to jink and swerve across the pitch to score in the corner
As Fylde kicked off again Nathan, Ben and Josh “the maniac” made tackle after tackle to keep Fylde at bay on their own try line.
With the ball in hand, Mikey and Reece looked dangerous on the wing and Alex, Ben and Nathan made the hard yards up the middle. After tackles and 10 yards from the Fylde line, Nathan took the ball on the run ploughing through, the would-be tacklers, to barge over.
Fylde were not down and out! Quick offloads in their own half and a missed tackle allowed the winger to streak away to half the deficit.
With a minute left on the clock, a missed tackle in the line had the winger again in free space. A try was on the cards but for a fantastic cover tackle from Josh but with 4 tackles in the set remaining Fylde were pressing the Eccles line. The Eccles defence held out until the last tackle when a quick pass out to space allowed a try in the corner.
Score: Eccles 2 – 2 Fylde
Game 2: Archie, Charlie, Guy, Lewis, Mitch and Tommy
The second game was all about missed 1-1 tackles and one Fylde player who runs for Lancashire (and tackles for them as well!). Fylde started with the ball, passing to the aforementioned player, to skip round the attempted Eccles tackle and finally to streak away and score. This happened not once, not twice but three times in a matter of minutes.
As Eccles tried to up their game, Tommy took a knee to the thigh and came off for treatment. Eccles pressure in the tackle from Lewis and Guy forced the mistake deep in the Fylde half allowing Mitch to pounce and dive in for the first Eccles try.
Better tackling again from Eccles forced the turnover and Eccles started to gain some momentum. Archie, Charlie, Guy and Lewis made some headway forcing the Fylde defence backwards and a smart step inside from Tommy created the space for him to score.
There was further pressure from Eccles in the final minute, looking for the try to level the match. However the ball was spilled and the chance lost. From the resulting play, the ball was passed out and a missed tackle again allowed the winger to go the full length of the field.
Score: Eccles 2 – 4 Fylde
Game 3: Archie, Ben, Charlie, Guy, Josh, Lewis, Mikey, Mitch, Nathan and Reece
To round of the proceedings, as we were now down to 10 players (Tommy had to leave early) we changed the format going back to 7-a-side with subs. The tackling was still, in the main, good with Josh tackling anything that moved. The flying Fylde winger from game 2 was still in fine form gliding over the now “farmers swampy field” of a pitch to score again!
Eccles responded with a fine solo effort from Ben rounding a number of would be tacklers and diving into the corner.
Fylde again hit on the twice on counter, both from Eccles mistakes to take a two try advantage. Hard yards up the middle from Ben, Guy and Lewis set up a no trademark crash ball try from Nathan. Nobody was stopping him from 5 yards as he carried the ball, 3 players and half the pitch over the try line with him.
Just as Eccles were back in the game, some quick play and a lapse in concentration allowed Fylde to re-establish their two try lead.
Eccles were now pushing to get back in the game but all too often playing one man rugby when a pass out wide would have been the better option. On the last play in the final set of six tackles Eccles kept the ball alive well, passing through a series of hands finally to Josh to dive through the legs to touch down. Not a game winning try but a deserving way to cap a great all-round performance.
Score: Eccles 3 – 4 Fylde
Man Of The Match: Josh “the maniac” (excellent display of tackling and a well-deserved try at the end)
Many thanks to Alex for playing for Eccles in the first game and a big well done to all players for three entertaining, competitive and good spirited games especially considering the bleak conditions.
Just for the record I did see that Mikey DID have some (but not a lot!!!) mud on his shirt at the end of the games, but apparently not enough according to the rest of the squad. So they made him a little muddier.
Next week is a home game against Sale. Usual time of 10:15-10:30.